Help Make Your Child's School Safer
Stories of violence in our schools can leave parents feeling concerned, worried, defensive, unsure, and even helpless. But parents can play a vital role in preventing violence, not just in their own kids' lives, but also in the lives of kids in communities across the nation.
The Department of Education's 1998 publication, Early Warning, Timely Response offers some great suggestions for parents who want to create safer schools.
- Discuss the school's discipline policy with your child. Show your support for the rules, and help your child understand the reasons for them.
- Note any disturbing behaviors in your child. For example, frequent angry outbursts, excessive fighting and bullying, cruelty to animals, fire setting, frequent behavior problems at school and in the neighborhood, lack of friends, and alcohol or drug use can be signs of serious problems. Get help for your child. Talk with a trusted professional in your child's school or in the community.
- Listen to your child if he/she shares concerns about friends who may be exhibiting troubling behaviors. Share this information with a trusted professional, such as the school psychologist, principal, or teacher.
- Be involved in your child's school life by supporting and reviewing homework, talking with his/her teachers, and attending school functions such as parent conferences, class programs, open houses, and PTA meetings.
- Work with your child's school to make it more responsive to all students and families. Share your ideas about how the school can encourage family involvement, welcome all families, and include them in meaningful ways in support of their children's education.
- Encourage your school to offer before- and after-school programs.
- Volunteer to work with school-based groups concerned with violence prevention. If none exist, offer to form one.
- Find out if your employer offers provisions for parents to participate in school activities.